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Charlie's Run

Charlie's Run

5.0 2
by Valerie Hobbs

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In running away from home, Charlie runs into more than he bargained for

The night that Charlie Bascomb's parents announce that they are separating, he knows that even though they aren't saying that horrible word divorce, it's only a matter of time. He can't bear the thought of his family breaking up and decides that it's up to him to do something to keep


In running away from home, Charlie runs into more than he bargained for

The night that Charlie Bascomb's parents announce that they are separating, he knows that even though they aren't saying that horrible word divorce, it's only a matter of time. He can't bear the thought of his family breaking up and decides that it's up to him to do something to keep his parents from making a terrible mistake. In the middle of the night, he creeps out of the house and into the darkness, determined to stay away from home for only a day or so, to scare them, to show them, to make them change their minds. But a chance encounter with another runaway, a girl with troubling secrets and a stolen car, leads Charlie farther from home than he'd ever intended to go. Soon Charlie begins to see that it is he who has made the terrible mistake, one that he may not be able to undo, and that there are far worse things that can happen to a kid than his parents getting a divorce.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW called this novel "an emotionally complex rendition of a familiar story: boy runs away, then realizes there's no place like home. Hobbs's energetic, honest storytelling will hook readers." Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the author of Carolina Crow Girl comes an emotionally complex rendition of a familiar story: boy runs away, then realizes there's no place like home. Eleven-year-old Charlie lives with his parents, three siblings, "three dogs, seven cats, all the fish, and Molly the horse"--but now his father is moving out. Always a Boy Scout and his mother's "Mister Sunshine," Charlie balks at his parents' implicit expectation that he accept their separation bravely. Hoping to teach them a lesson about broken families, he runs away. Almost immediately, he meets a teenage girl named Doo, a fellow runaway with a car, and together they head farther away than Charlie ever meant to go. Doo is fleeing her sexually abusive stepfather (the material is handled obliquely) and violent, drug-addicted mother; she is driving a stolen car to reach her drug-dealer father, who turns out to be in prison. Doo is an interesting and erratic personality, a rebel with a heart that's only sometimes made of gold, and her friendship with Charlie brings out the best in her time after time. In the end, after saving someone's life and nearly being sent to "juvie," Charlie returns home, ready to value all that he has. Charlie's fate is never in doubt--it is Hobbs's energetic, honest storytelling that will hook readers. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
ALAN Review
As a Boy Scout who believes in his oath and his rules, Charlie's adventures in this novel bring him a new set of rules that are directly related to his own life experience, not predetermined for him. Setting her narrative in rural California, near Fresno, Hobbs creates a family that is falling apart and an eleven-year-old boy who runs away from the impending divorce. On his run, Charlie meets up with a fourteen-year-old Doo (Mary Louise Doolittle), and the story develops as the two alienated youths suffer hunger, loneliness, even serious danger. After a thoroughly frightening series of events, Charlie and Doo discover how much they genuinely care for each other and how much they have helped each other grow up. Hobbs depends heavily on dialogue and interior monologue in this tale. Her description is appropriately sparse: simultaneously, she regularly selects the right detail to accent in every scene. Charlie's Run is a fast-paced adventure with truth for every middle school reader, regardless of gender. Genre: Family Relationships. 2000, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, Ages 9 to 12, $16.00. Reviewer: Marjorie M. Kaiser
One night at the dinner table, eleven-year-old Charlie hears the worst word a pre-teen could hear from his parents—separate. Emotions on overload, precocious Charlie decides to abandon his Mr. Sunshine reputation and plans a drastic route to save his family—he runs away. Armed with his backpack, Boy Scout skills, and $43.75, he sets out for the open road. In a convenience store, he meets Doo (short for Mary Louise Doolittle), a worldly fourteen-year-old running away from her abusive stepfather. Together they head for Los Angeles in her stolen VW Bug to find her real father. Charlie plans to call home when they arrive there, certain that by then his plan will have convinced his parents to stay together. When they arrive, however, Doo finds her father's girlfriend maintaining their home while he is in jail, and Charlie's sister tells him that despite his parents' frantic worry, they are not going to reunite. Doo's wounded pride causes them to flee, and looking for a place to spend the night, they run into some teens taking shelter in a drug home. Events spiral out of control, and Charlie must save one of the teens from an overdose. Although some young adult books contain stories that are more like the fantastical plots of talk shows, this book sensitively treats an all-too-common heartache for many teens. Charlie might appear a little too "goody-two-shoes" for some readers, but his actions are believable and ring true. He learns that there are consequences for his actions—he is placed on probation for running away and for being found in a drug house. He also realizes that even if things do not turn out as planned, it still might be okay. Cover art, a watercolor of Charlieand Doo, complements the novel. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Farrar Straus Giroux, 176p, $16. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Debra Lynn Adams

SOURCE: VOYA, December 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 5)

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Eleven-year-old Charlie has always been the agreeable one in his family. Years ago, when his mother called him "Mr. Sunshine," Charlie took it to heart, and he's always put forth his best effort to be happy. Now, something has happened that he can't be happy about. No matter how hard he tries, he can't be Mr. Sunshine anymore; his parents have told him they're going to separate. He feels they really mean "divorce." Families shouldn't break apart. He decides to show them in action what he can't express in words. He sneaks away in the middle of the night and accepts a ride from a teenager named Doo who is traveling out west to be reunited with her father. Charlie's trip quickly turns dangerous, as he finds himself doing things he never expected to do, like visiting prison and avoiding the cops. But where will Charlie's trip take him? And how will he ever get home? Through Charlie, Valerie Hobbs provides an honest portrayal of the devastation kids feel when their parents decide to divorce and the problems they can have adjusting to change. 2000, Frances Foster/Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 9 to 13, $16.00. Reviewer: Heidi Green
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-In this coming-of-age story, Hobbs examines the deeper meanings of family, freedom, and responsibility. When 11-year-old Charlie Bascomb's parents announce that they are separating, he can't bear it. To keep them from making a big mistake, he decides he'll run away, just for a day or two, so that his mom and dad will realize what a broken family feels like. Leaving his home in the California countryside, Charlie catches a ride to the coast with another runaway, Doo, a 14-year-old driving a stolen yellow Volkswagen. Running from her alcoholic mother and drug-dealing, abusive stepfather, Doo seeks her father, only to find him in jail. Charlie realizes he's made a big mistake when they get involved with homeless teens, one of whom nearly dies from a drug overdose, and he sees that worse things can happen to a kid than a divorce. From his experience and his relationship with Doo, Charlie learns that he will have family, even if his parents split, and that their happiness is important. Charlie, who wears a red cowboy hat as he leaves home and uses the knowledge learned from Boy Scouts while on the road, is very young at the book's beginning, but he is forced to grow up quickly. A fast-moving plot, complex and appealing characters, and an engaging writing style make Charlie's Run a sure winner.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Valerie Hobbs is the recipient of the 1999 PEN/Norma Klein Award. Her previous books include Carolina Crow Girl. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Charlie's Run 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't always liked reading books but when I read this one it just pulled me in. If you read this book I am positive you will like it. A Reader
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, i read it for a book report and i wanted to read it again after i finished...it is very true about life today and i would love to here more about it!...mayeb come out w/ an Charlie's Run #2!! could you please send me info. by e-mail to show for the book report?thank you for your time...i loved the book!